Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal today announced the setting up of two Central Universities in Bihar - in Motihari and Gaya.
This comes after a long war of words between the centre and the state government. The Centre had proposed the setting up of a Central University - Bihar's first - in Gaya. The reason - Gaya's connectivity by air, rail and road. The Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government preferred Motihari - the place from where Mahatma Gandhi had launched his first agitation in India.
Announcing that not one but two Central Universities will be set up, observers say, it seems to be the UPA government's way of thanking Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his support to Pranab Mukherjee for President.
Mr Kumar, and his Janata Dal (United) is backing the former Finance Minister, who is the UPA's candidate for President instead of the BJP-led NDA's official candidate Purno Sangma. The BJP is an ally in the Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar.
After Mr Sibal's announcement, Mr Kumar today welcomed the gesture and hoped that the Centre will also consider the long pending demand to make Patna University a Central University too. "I widely welcome the decision of opening two central universities in Bihar," he said.
The Centre had also agreed to build a Rs. 2,000 crore bridge on the Ganga River near Patna, which will be constructed under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode. Bihar's backward area grant fund has also been raised from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore - an unprecedented four-fold increase.